A National Theatre of Greece and Cyprus Theatre Organisation production in association with British Theatre company Imitating the dog performed in French – confused?
Tales from the Bar of Lost Souls is visually impressive but somewhat confusing. Using a mix of film, mime and a French soundtrack to follow the life of a dying man it’s like watching a live version of a French cinematic Film Noir.
We only glimpse the action through three windows so it’s a voyeuristic evening as we glance walls move to create a variety of locales.
A sailor leaves his ship, falls in love, falls in lust, turns to crime, turns to drink and eventually arrives at the Bar of Lost Souls where he hopes to find redemption.
Well that’s one idea of what may happen – it is a narrative that doesn’t provide easy answers. Some of the alienation may lie in the format; actors miming to a pre recorded soundtrack, through three windows in a projection screen. It may be visually impressive but the technique does distance the audience.
Perhaps Tales from the Bar of Lost Souls is not meant to provide easy answers, instead allowing the audience to draw their own conclusions but either way it is not an entirely satisfactory solution.
Perhaps it tries to imitate film too much and would work better on screen than stage as currently is seems to have lost its soul.